My Riding Stables: Life with Horses Review

Throughout the many genres throughout the video game industry, it is always a refreshing change of pace to experience a franchise involving one of the most majestic of animals, horses. Developed by Independent Arts Software, My Riding Stables – Life with Horses has arrived on the Playstation 4. It is in fact a remake of a game released back in 2008. The question is, has it improved on what worked and addressed what didn’t? Let’s find out.

A fusion of arcade and simulator, My Riding Stables – Life with Horses offers players the opportunity of restoring an old abandoned stud farm back to full operation. Your journey will involve raising and breeding horses. This entails caring, training, and racing, all to create a revenue stream to invest in the dream.

Out of the starting gate, an avatar, and starting horse need to be selected using a limited variety of choices. Horses are given additional focus in this regard with more variations. As they’re the focus of the product, that’s how it should be. Once chosen, you’re instantly loaded onto the farm where your first horse is awaiting in the paddock for the adventure to begin.

Everything in this game is text-based. The instructions given are relatively clear, but younger audiences may be overwhelmed by some of the terminology. There are no arrows directing you to specific objectives neither, and this can lead to a potential source of frustration to start with. It is a case of finding your feet at first, yet won’t take too long to suss the layout. You will notice inaccessible features around the farm, including a breeding stable and training areas.

Do not be phased by the hand-holding at the beginning, as this culminates in assisting you to get settled into a smooth routine. A bit tedious at times, yes, but the player will appreciate this more once they’ve encountered the full operation of the farm. Once the training saddle is off, there is no reason to panic as there is a further resource material available to further your knowledge.

There is a lot of depth here and is undoubtedly the strongest aspect of this game. Another strength is the immersion of having the care of horses being interactive. By that I mean each method of care is executed through mini-games of sorts. A way to connect the player with each horse and foal under their care. They will need their washing, their hooves clearing, muscles rubbed, medication administered, and that’s only to name a few options in the stable.

Outside the stable, there is work to be done on the farm through a multitude of tasks. As mentioned earlier in this review, I mentioned a routine, and again this needs to be re-iterated. My Riding Stables – Life with Horses is enjoyed with establishing a routine. It’s about pacing. To be blunt, it is a string of activities that can become tedious quickly that ends up delivering a rewarding experience.

Unfortunately, with any strength comes a weakness. The weakness is severe, and that is the riding mechanics themselves. Reviews are based on personal opinion and in mine. The actual training and riding of these magnificent beasts should have been better designed. I’ll state that this side of the game I never enjoyed once. The controls are sluggish, handling doesn’t feel intuitive, riding doesn’t feel fluent, and triggering jumps has an awkward window of execution.

To best surmise show jumping, the game wants you to ride in a circle to position yourself into what feels like a preset path to instigate a quick time event. Some may disagree, that is how it felt. Being a father of two lovely children, one aged three and the other six, I couldn’t hold either attention span for any longer than five minutes of racing or free-roaming on this game.

I must add, on the main menu, you can find a free-roaming option available. The invisible walls, inability to ride through water, and general clunkiness of the experience will draw your attention towards the better-designed side of the game. Is the riding awful? It’s not good, put it that way. There are more enjoyable and accurate riding simulators on games that were not specifically designed to reflect those traits. A problem that was present in the original that did not receive any meaningful adjustment.

What has improved are the visuals, the colourful and vibrant environments are reminiscent of a six-generation release, and that’s highlighted as a charming feature rather than a criticism. As music goes, this game’s soundtrack is insanely generic. You won’t be inspired by it or distracted. If you’re a fan of soft rock, you’ll be in your element, no doubt. Merge the two together and you have a presentation that gets the job done.

My Riding Stables – Life with Horses shares a problem that one of my all-time favourite games has. One half is well done, and the other is less than desirable. What shouldn’t be fun is actually entertaining, and what should be entertaining feels like a drag. The worse and latter half is vastly more bearable when considering the contributions it makes to the better half.

Overall, for anyone looking to get a business-simulator style game with horses, this is worth time to test out. As a horse riding simulator, not so much. You can become hooked into the allure of managing and raising your own farm. There is a lot of attention and detail shown to develop it. It is true that even an enjoyable pattern of play can become repetitive in time, it remains an enjoyable ride getting to that point, regardless.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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My Riding Stables: Life with Horses Review
  • Gameplay - 6/10
    6/10
  • Graphics - 6/10
    6/10
  • Sound - 6/10
    6/10
  • Replay Value - 6/10
    6/10
User Review
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Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)
Overall
6/10

Summary

What shouldn’t be fun is actually entertaining and what should be entertaining, feels like a drag. The worse and latter half is vastly more bearable when considering the contributions it makes to the better half.